Help Robert Stack Open The First Presidency's Vault

Mormon Unsolved Mysteries Robert Stack.First Presidency Vault open.

Mr. Stack has returned to solve the last remaining unsolved mystery in Zion, "What secrets and treasures lie hidden in The First Presidency's vault?" Could the treasure include The Sword of Laban, the Liahona, Nephite coins or maybe even the Urim and Thummim? The First Presidency refused to allow Mr. Stack, untouchable of integrity and virture, to open the vault, live on national television in 2002 as part of the media attention revolving around the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Many of the contributors to this section also post on the Recovery from Mormonism bulletin board

What's in the Vault?...(a peek inside) ..."There's NOTHING to hide" - Gordon B Hinckley

03/22/2006 - FCI

There's a short video at the end....But first.....

Associated Press: Some scholars say historical records point to discrepancies with the official church history. How do you reconcile the differences? And what is the church's position on historical scholarship?

President Hinckley: Well, we have nothing to hide. Our history is an open book. They may find what they are looking for, but the fact is the history of the church is clear and open and leads to faith and strength and virtues.,1249,635171604,00.html

From Dan Brown’s “Angels and Demons” p. 176 (2000 Copyright, paperback): “Christianity’s most sacred codices are in that archive. Treasures I myself am not privileged to see. Access is permitted only by written decree… or by papal mandate…p. 177 “The secret Vatican archives are located…They contain over 20,000 volumes, and are rumored to hold such treasured volumes as Lionardo da Vinci’s missing diaries and even unpublished books of the Holy Bible.” In other words, things that the Vatican does not want people to see……


• Church spokesman Jerry Cahill had little to say by way of clarification. "I presume [it is] in the possession of the First Presidency," he said, because the history was not in the historical department archives. Cahill said he would not ask whether the Cowdery history is kept in the First Presidency's vault. "I don't intend to respond to every report or rumor of documents in the First Presidency's vault," Mr. Cahill told the Salt Lake Tribune. "I have no idea if the history is there, nor do I intend to ask. I can't have my life ordered about by rumors. Where does it end?"

• When researchers learned what happened and said that it was being suppressed, the church decided to "stonewall." A spokesman for the church said: " 'The church doesn't have the letter... It's not in the church archives or the First Presidency's vault.' " (Salt Lake Tribune, April 29, 1985) Finally, when it became clear that some Mormon scholars had photocopies of the letter and were going to turn them over to the news media, the church backed down, and the same spokesman admitted his earlier statement was "in error": "The purported letter was indeed acquired by the church. For the present it is stored in the First Presidency's archives..." (Salt Lake Tribune, May 7, 1985)… "The First Presidency's archive or vault, where the 1825 letter was concealed, is undoubtedly the ultimate 'black hole.' Documents which are embarrassing to the Mormon Church disappear into this bottomless abyss and are seldom heard of again."

• President Hinckley telephoned in June 1982 to say that he was sympathetic about a request I had written to obtain access to documents in the First Presidency's vault but that my request could not be granted. Since I now knew all I ever would about post-Manifesto polygamy, I told him I would go ahead and publish the most detailed and supportive study I could of the topic.

• Jan 11,1983 - Second counselor Gordon B. Hinckley pays document dealer Mark Hofmann $15,000 for alleged Joseph Smith letter about his treasure digging activities. He has Hofmann agree not to mention the transaction to anyone else and then he sequesters document in First Presidency's vault.

• Gordon B. Hinckley told Brent Ashworth to "tell the people we've got nothing to hide", and at the same time Gordon B. Hinckley is hiding the Joseph Smith to Josiah Stowell letter in the First presidency vault (see page 293). This event leads me to believe Hofmann's lies and deceit flourished because of lies and deceit that exists in the Mormon church environment.

• Mike suggests that the beginning of the Joseph Knight autobiography that Dean Jesse edited in BYU Studies was not destroyed, but may be in the 1st Presidency vault thanks to Joseph Fielding Smith! This particular autobiography is the best source for much of the Moroni visions. It has all the magic stuff in it….

• Unfortunately, the Mormon Church suppresses a great deal of important material that reflects badly on the church. Much of this material is kept hidden away in the Church Historical Department and in the First Presidency's vault. This suppressive attitude has been criticized by many of the church's historians.

• Joseph Fielding Smith once wrote: "The earliest records of the Church are in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery. He acted as scribe and recorder, generally, in the first conferences of the Church." Cowdery's records, wrote Smith, "are invaluable."… Although President Smith wrote in the 1920s that "we have on file in the Historian's Office the records written in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery," the Church has never formally stated that they possess the document. No researcher has ever studied it, nor is any copy of its text known to exist. Now, an individual (who has remained anonymous in order to protect his Church standing) says that he has seen the Cowdery history in the First Presidency's vault.

• When the First Presidency's Vault yielded the letter presented to Gordon Hinckley by Hofmann in which Thomas Bullock accused Brigham Young of having tried to destroy the Blessing of Joseph Smith III, it caught the War Room by surprise. "What else are they hiding?" Michael George demanded. "None of the church historians I've talked to - Don Schmidt, Leonard Arrington, and Dean Jessee - even knew this existed. They've never heard of it. What else do they have? Who knows what's in the First Presidency's Vault?"

• ….the Church routinely acquires and suppresses church history documents in order to deceive its members and the public.... a February 11, 1987, New York Times feature states: According to investigators, the church leaders purchased from Mr. Hofmann and then hid in a vault a number of 19th-century letters and other documents that cast doubt on the church's official version of it’s history.

• The authorities looked even more like old, incompetent, paranoid fools when Turley's book revealed that the First Presidency's vault contained the famous McLellin papers that Hofmann had promised to produce. The Mormon leaders had no idea they were there--since 1908.

• Today's prophets, seers, and revelators—the ordained apostles who lead the church—do not speak in tongues or use divining rods, and Joseph's seerstone is safely tucked away in the First Presidency's vault.

• Salamander Letter — A Hofmann forgery, is held in an LDS Church vault.,1249,635153490,00.html

• In about 1982, a descendent of Brigham Young, Mary Brown Firmage was told by the First Presidency's secretary that there were 3 seer stones in First Presidency's vault.


• Question: ….The early 70's are referred to as the Arrington Spring in LDS church history. How would you compare that openness with the current church historical department?
• Answer…I had a fellowship to do Mormon study in the Church Archives in the summer of 1973… But by no means were all records open. Anything in the First Presidency's Vault was not open…... The tightening of access came when more conservative leaders wanted to restrict the record to scholars who would use the materials "responsibly." I do not think the current church leadership is likely to reopen the sources as widely as was the case in the early 1970s.

• In a speech Quinn gave in 1981, he noted that he had "spent a decade probing thousands of manuscript diaries and records of Church history" that he "never dreamed" he would view. (On Being a Mormon Historian. a lecture given by D. Michael Quinn, Brigham Young University, Fall 1981
• …Quinn is an historian who has focused on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From 1976 to 1988, he was a professor at BYU, after which he resigned over a dispute with the BYU administration concerning matters of academic freedom. At the time, his work concerned church involvement with plural marriage after the 1890 Manifesto, in which the practice was officially renounced. In 1993, his work resulted in his excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

• A well-researched and documented book. Ms. Brodie did much of her research in the Mormon Church's archives and library, and because David O. McKay (a former president of the Mormon Church) was her uncle, she had access to documents that other researchers did not. The following interview with Ms. Brodie was conducted on Nov. 30, 1975:
o Q: Are those church archives open now? I read a comment indicating that it was believed that your book would open archival material.
o A: It had the reverse effect. The archives were largely closed to scholars after my book came out…...
• I am an excommunicated Mormon. I was officially excommunicated when the biography of Joseph Smith was written and published. About six months after publication, there was a formal excommunication.

The Granite Mountain Vault

The Vault, as it is commonly known, is a massive excavation reaching 600 feet into the north side of the canyon….. Under 700 feet of stone, the Vault proper is situated farther back in the mountain behind production section and consists of six (storage)chambers (each 190 feet long, 25 feet wide, and 25 feet high), which are accessed by one main entrance and two smaller passageways. Specially constructed Mosler doors weighing fourteen tons (at the main entrance) and nine tons (guarding the two smaller entrances) are designed to withstand a nuclear blast. In the six chambers, nature maintains constant humidity and temperature readings optimum for microfilm storage…...Each chamber contains banks of steel cabinets ten feet high. (Note to reader… this statement is not accurate…both “A” vault and “F” vault contain open storage racks).

Here’s a peek inside:

Note before viewing:

THIS IS A PR FILM BY THE MORG. (Mormon Church) - THE FILM ONLY DISCUSSES GENEAOLGY... BUT THERE'S A LOT MORE IN THERE. (March 11, 2006 Church News "taking photos in the vault area is no longer allowed". Public access is not allowed. Also, it takes a security clearance for anyone to get into the production areas...The vaults are basically off limits to everyone except a few workers "F" vault is off limits to everyone period.

Pause at 18-22 seconds into the video…this is a view of one of 6 storage areas in the back of the vault…. Only 4 of these are devoted to genealogical records….

Pause at 33-38 seconds into the video …this is a view of the fourteen ton door and the corridor leading to the storage areas. There are three storage areas on each side of the hallway (none are visible). “A” vault is the first room on the left and contains financial, legal, real estate, membership, and other miscellaneous computer records having to do with “business”. “B” vault is the first room on the right as you enter the corridor….”C” is the middle vault on the left and so on…. “B-E” vaults contain microfilm and related genealogical documents. At the far end of the corridor is a room with a large reservoir (pool) of drinkable mountain spring water and an earthquake seismograph.

Ignore the rest of the video…

“F” Vault is the storage area that is locked to everyone except the 1st presidency or whomever they alone allow inside. It is located in the rear of the corridor on the right hand side. It contains all artifacts related to the Morg. that are kept from the public. I have been in “F” vault twice – both times before the edict of BKP and the 1st presidency to limit all access. I did not have the chance to explore this vault and was only able to view it from close to the doorway. This storage area contains, lots of old original documents, artifacts, books, journals, boxes containing who knows what…. all of these situated on open elevated racks. Many rumors circulate about what is in this vault…. Your guess is as good as mine in this regard…… It was told to me confidentially by church historians, that Mark Hoffman was granted access to documents in this vault and he had a co-conspirator who was able to smuggle out some documents later purchased by the church that they already owned….. This vault likely contains the documents previously accessed by Michael Quinn and Fawn Brodie, along with many that even they were not able to see…..

From the lds website:,7031,1659-1-747,00.html

Note: The Widows Media Player at High Resolution worked best on my computer…unless you have a slow connection.

I was going to try and find a diagram to somehow post, but I never made it to the archives of the Deseret News from the mid-60's. Maybe someone else has one they can post?

There are four portals coming out of the mountain as you can see in this picture.

Notice the broken boulders in front of the portals. This may have been the photo out of the church news in the 1980's. The entrance is acutually to the right of the picture and is kind of a non-descript "bunk house" type of building. You can enter only after the door is remotely unlocked after you speak through a microphone and are viewed by a video camera. Inside the bunkhouse are the guards who ask for ID and check to make sure you are pre-authorized to come in.

In the front area of the vault, (where the portals exit the mountain), you're in the production area, where microfilm is duplicated. This operation is mainly staffed by older couple missionaries.

Behind the production area, further into the mountain is the "vault storage area". You'll see the corridor leading to the vaults in the video, behind the large "bank vault" type blast door. There are only a few workers allowed into this area, it is "off limits" to normal workers in the vault.

I've been in the vault several times, related to my job at COB. I'm not comfortable just yet saying exactly what I did for the Morg. publicly, but lets just say, it had to do with high level review and inspection of the facility to add structural integrity to the place and operational support for the entire facility. It was not my main job for COB, but I worked closely with the family history folks.

I felt pretty special in the mid-late 80's getting into the
"F" vault, since that was not something that most people could do even then. There were some seismic issues that I was assisting in addressing, and the first time, it was really just a "show and tell" when I came on as a new hire at COB.

The thing about "F" vault that struck me the most, was the randomness of the way things in there were stored. It really looked a bit junky. There may have been some organization to it, but I noticed large ledger books laying both on end and on their sides. There were trunks and boxes and books stored on open shelves. My guess is that because the place was so restricted, no one ever cleaned or organized it. Everything in there looked old to it was all from the 1800's or something. Perhaps, some of the items are genuine artifacts that may some day be displayed in the church museum?

There was a rule even then that no-one was allowed in "F" vault alone. You had to have an escort. It was heavily locked from the outside with a large metal door and required a key to get into. Had I known then, what I know now, I'd have made more mental notes about the place.

At the end of the corridor is the room with the reservoir and seismograph. Not much to say about it, but they let you dring out of the pool with paper cups, the water drinkable, coming right out of the middle of the mountain.

I do remember the front of the vault in the production area smelled strongly of film. They were duplicating copies of microfilm constantly.

I was told that the reason the church history department/archives and vault were all shut down for public access at the direction of Boyd K Packer in about 1987 was that Mark Hofmann had somehow obtained a "real" (as opposed to forged) document(s) already owned by the church and had sold it back to the 1st presidency. There was a "leak" somewhere in the system and the best way for them to stop it from happening again was to totally shut down access. It was my understanding that this document was one of the ones "lost" and forgotten in the vault that was damaging to the church in some way, but was not known to exist... you'll notice some of the links provided give examples of how little even the leaders of the church knew about what they had.

I used to enjoy going through some of the stacks in the east wing of Church Office Building where the church history and archives department is located. One of the archivists for the church had been a friend of mine long before he came to work for he church and mentioned this to me as a reason for the new restrictions. The public is now limited to the 1st floor "library section" and then only after signing in with a security guard.

For a while, I thought the incident was public knowledge and really didn't think much of it (I remembered someone else mentioning it), but I've learned since, that it was one of those little tidbits that the Church was glad no one outside COB found out about. They were pretty busy doing other damage control with all the other Hofmann problems. I don't know which document it was or if it was more than one and my guess is unless one of the few in that department ever tell the story, it will remain one of those mysterious events like so many others that people will speculate about 100 years from now.

I've literally thought about going out to the prison and asking for Hofmann but I'm sure others have tried. Maybe his cellmate Dan Lafferty would find out for us? I'm afraid to ask the friend in archives, he'd lose his job in a heartbeat for talking to someone in detail about that incident.

I wish I had more details.

There is also a small highly secure storage area (small closet) in the Church Administration Building - where the 12 and 1st presidency offices are...), but I've never actually seen it and don't know what's in it. There are also some sensitive records/photos/documents/books stored in the church history and archives department on the east side of COB. That department consists of 4 floors, only a portion of the first floor is accessible to the public after passing through security.

There is climate control in the GMV, and I never remember it being damp in there. Why the Morg. stores a large quantity of items securely locked in "F" vault at the very rear of the vault complex prohibiting scrutiny or access by "anyone" without the 1st pres. authorization can only be conjectured. I've never heard from anyone outside COB that the church has even acknowledged that this storage area exists. It's always been a source of speculation and rumors, even among church insiders.

Suggestions For Items To Include In The Vault and Misc. Comments

Stacks of resignation letters with Post-It Note on top - "Hold and see if they change their minds"

Lifetime supply of Pampers for Tommy Monson kept near entrance for easy retrieval

Copy of Gardner's "Witchcraft for Today," signed by the author

Posters of the Pillsbury Dough Boy - 05/21/2013 - Julian the Apostate


A golden Moroni statue wearing a 'Smiles are for free' button, to be used on the new McTemples. - 05/23/2001 - anon


The treasure trove of golden plates, etc., that were in the "vault" in the Hill Cumorah (probably the inspiration for the 1st Presidency's vault). - 05/09/2001 - Llona


Fanny Alger's shredded training bra (sacred rips courtesy of his holiness, Joseph Smith JR)

The liahona, broken by a fumbling Brigham Young after a night of heavy drinking and cavorting with Cain/Bigfoot.

The Sword of Laban; only it turns out it was a steaknife. (I don't know if you noticed, but Nephi was given to exageration from time to time.)

An entire catalog of Sports illustrated swimsuit issues

3 kleenex boxes placed in close proximity to the swimsuit issues, marked "For GBH's personal use only". weird.

The skeletal remains of the musical group "Afterglow".
10/17/2000 = Sancho at the Recovery bbs


Geez, You would think that "Nephite Coin" would be proudly displayed by the Church as proof that its true, especially when one criticism of the BOM is that NO coins, such as described within it, have EVER been found.

Kirtland Banknotes, waiting for redemption.

ALL the silver coins that disappeard from circulation, starting in 1964 - 05/29/2000 - anon

Nephite Coins

I did have the opportunity of taking the testimony of two persons from my home town, a man and his wife, Brother and Sister Robinson, who brought what was reported to be a Nephite coin to the offices of the First Presidency around the turn of the century.

He had served in the Southern States as a missionary. He came back from the Southern States with what he believed to be a Nephite coin. His mission president, Ben E. Rich, had so identified it.

I do not know the means by which the mission president made the identification. But Brother Robinson was told that it was a Nephite coin. He was told also by his mission president to take it to the First Presidency when he returned home.

He did so. I took the testimony from him and from his wife, had it recorded and then read it to them and had them sign it. They testify that such a coin was delivered to the Church. I was also told in that interview that they were shown a bag of coins of similar nature, by members of the First Presidency. This, as I say, happened around the turn of the century, around 1890. (James R. Clark, Book of Mormon Institute, BYU, December 5,1959, p.55)

For a complete synopsis and discussion on the subject of Nephite coins go here:

The Mormon Delusion - Nephite Coins by Jim Whitefield


The Kama Sutra, re-written for early Mormon polygamists with a preface by Brigham himself. - 04/09/2000 - anon


Brigham Young's Kama-Sutra is known as "The Inspired Version" - 04/26/2000 - anon

Brigham Young's Kama-Sutra may also be found under the title... "Deseret Daisy-Chain" - 05/01/2000 - anon


Copies of the Salamander Letters - 02/27/2000 - anon


Tithing checks stamped by Zion's First Bank "NSF" - 02/16/2000 - anon


All of Nephi's merit badges and Eagle Scout badge (i.e. passport to the celestial kingdom)- 02/05/2000 - anon


A copy of Doom, a box of cigars, and a worn out Susan B. Anthony dollar. - 01/20/2000 - anon


Lucifer and his henchmen.The true shot callers of the LDS - 12/16/1999 - John D. Lee


Emma Hale Smith's Infamous Diary.

Poor Moroni bound and gagged.

A spiffy pair of garmies with a quick release front flap!

A box of unopened trojans. - 11/08/1999 - the witch jessica


The mysterious missing pages from the Bishops Handbook containing information for removing your name from the roles of the church. - 10/26/1999 - Mac


Paul H. Dunn's professional baseball player trading cards. - 09/27/1999 - anon


Thank you letter from Adolf Hitler, accompanied by an autographed first edition of his 1993;"Mein Baptism". Look for the sequel, "Mein Celestial Reich." - 09/06/1999 - Brigham Smith


The only known truly authentic photos of Joseph Smith, AKA mugshots from the Hancock County Jail - 09/04/1999 - Jack X. Mormon


Never-aired pilot episode of "BYU Five-O", where officer's respond to a call of "Man with a Beard"! - 08/22/1999 - anon


Twelve subversive 10th graders from East High who tried to start a gay student club. Commonly referred to as 'The Dirty Dozen'. - 07/24/1999 - anon


The three Nephites and John the Beloved Stepping out of the vault, dusting off themselves...What'da mean..authority.. RESTORED to the earth?....And what's up with involving Pete Jim and Jack, EXCUSE ME?...We WERE here the WHOLE time!!DUH! - 07/23/1999 - anon


Go & Dress This Garden..a B movie.. coming to a temple near you. It's one you'll be commanded to see time and again. - 07/23/1999 - anon


By the way we did find the "alter stone" it was mistakenly removed, (scouting initiation joke) and placed in my back yard, great picnic table though! Darned kids anyway. 07/21/1999 - anon


The Spalding Manuscript II dated 1830 - How To Start A Profitable Church With No Money Down

Bronze deskplate in reformed Egyptian that translates "I'd rather have a Highball in front of me than a frontal Kolobotomy" 06/04/1999 -


The long lost photograph of Willy, a 16 year old runaway slave boy who was the great love of Giuseppe Smith's life. 06/05/1999 - anon


Brigham's Javelin- You never know when you might catch one of your wives in a compromising position. 06/06/1999 - anon


The Golden Plates - 05/22/1999 - anon


Joseph Smith's marriage license to Fannie Alger, along with the 116 pages "lost" as a publicity stunt to accelerate Joseph's book sales. - 05/16/1999 - drshades


Joseph's black book (entitled "Other Men's Wives"), in which he rated the sexual performance of attractive Nauvoo women. - 05/16/1999 - LDS-Nomore


The Lost Ten Tribes of Israel - 05/15/1999 - anon


Brigham Young's list of those who must be put out of the way. 05/13/1999 - anon


A lifetime's supply of Mary Kay makeup used by GBH to cover up the gin blossoms on his nose.- 05/06/1999 - jlaitres


Folgers Columbian Roast coffee hidden inside a postum container.

PlayGirl and Penthouse magazines.

JC's Adomic/English English/Adomic electronic translator.

Green Jello.

The missing book of Lehi- 05/06/1999 - jlaitres


Twelve pairs of bikini briefs worn by the apostles when they meet in the upper room of the SLC temple. - 05/02/1999 - Robert


The original Relief Society charter, granting holier-than -thous permission to "shush" adult women in Relief Society-maybe because they used to be Primary president, or because they have lots of kids and think that loud, obnoxious "shushing" is an appropriate way to express disapproval in a loving, "special", spiritual place where there is so much (sob, sniff) Unity and such a Special Spirit and so much Love and Sisterhood, (pause for a boohoo). As we say here in the pagan (non-Utahn)South , "Ain't no pill for stupid." (submitted by a five-year Relief Society president who has been subjected to many "shushings" , even a full-body, hissing shush delivered by one of our Esteemed sisters-- to someone who wasn't even talking!!)- 04/26/1999 - anon


Joseph Smith's bronzed gonads - 04/20/1999 - Blashoodaloom


The original copy of the Book of Mormon? Also other scandals of the church we have not found yet! - 04/13/1999 - aaron


GBH's other wives. - 04/05/1999 - anon

Memo pads covered with doodlings in Reformed Egyptian.


The three Nephites and John the Baptist, very very blue from lack of air. - 04/04/1999 - DataHavok


Joe's original peepstone that he found while digging a well.

Joseph Smith's personal copy of View of the Hebrews, dog eared and underlined.

Adam's alter stone, stolen from Adam Ondi Ahman. - 04/03/1999 - anon


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